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Talks about Migrant Workers at the Two Sessions

In early March, the annual ‘Two Sessions’ of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress (CPPCC) convened in Beijing. On 5 March, Prime Minister Li Keqiang addressed the NPC. In his speech he reiterated once again the determination of the government to tackle the issue of wage arrears besetting migrant workers. The beleaguered situation of migrant workers also drew much attention from representatives. Some delegates contended that inadequate legislation on wage payment, lenient punishment for companies violating laws, and weak law enforcement are some of the main reasons for the persistence of wage arrears in China. They thus suggested that the government should reinforce its supervision of the labour market—for instance by creating a blacklist of law-violating companies and imposing stiff penalties on them. Wage arrears aside, a special personal income tax scheme was proposed, which would take into consideration the seasonal fluctuations in migrant workers’ wages and therefore help increase their disposable income. Moreover, it was recommended that the government, in cooperation with firms, provide more vocational training to migrant workers to help them survive in the era of automation. JL

(Sources: Gongren Ribao; Xinhua 1; Xinhua 2; Zhonggongwang)

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